Friday, December 8, 2023

EWS quota: ‘103rd amendment is fraud on Constitution,’ petitioners to Supreme Court

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The law that provides the basis for reservation for economically weaker sections is a “fraud on the Constitution”, a lawyer representing a group of petitioners told the Supreme Court on Tuesday.

“The 103rd amendment is a fraud on the Constitution. The ground-level reality is that it is dividing the country along caste lines,” said legal scholar G Mohan Gopal, on behalf of the petitioners.

The Supreme Court was hearing arguments on whether the Constitution (103rd Amendment) Act, which introduced a 10 per cent quota for EWS in government jobs and admissions, violates the basic structure of the Constitution.

A five-judge Constitution Bench led by Chief Justice of India U U Lalit and comprising Justices S Ravindra Bhat, Dinesh Maheshwari, S B Pardiwala, and Bela Trivedi, is presiding upon the case.

“It will change the identity of the Constitution in the minds of people as something which protects the privileged rather than the weak,” he added.

Gopal who called the amendment “an attack on the constitutional vision of social justice”, argued that reservation is only needed to “ensure representation so that it does not eat up equality of opportunity which is the concern of the backward classes”.

Gopal argued that backward classes had sought representation, and not economic upliftment, through reservations. “We are not interested in the reservation, we are interested in representation,” he told the top court. “If someone brings a better way of representation than reservation, we will throw away the reservation in the Arabian Sea.”

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